So you want to be ulzzang. But first, do you even know what the term means and how it came to be? Let’s travel a bit down memory lane to learn more about this increasingly popular fashion and cosmetic trend.
Definition – The term, which literally translates to “best face,” is Korean slang for attractive netizens. It is generally used to refer to someone who became popular on the Internet as a result of his or her exceptionally good looks.
- The term started to become popular in Korea during the late 1990s, when the social networking site Cyworld grew in popularity and the wide use of consumer-grade digital cameras also began.
- It was closely associated with the term “Sel-ka”, which refers to self-photography, or what we know today as “selfie.”
- The earliest use of the term on record involves three high school girls then known as the Eun-Kwang Ulzzang Trio, Eun-Kwang being the name of their high school.
- The girls, who may have been the first to ever earn the distinction of having the “best face,” eventually pursued acting and modeling careers.
Although the term originally spread among high school students to refer to three of their own kind who were deemed exceptionally attractive, it soon came to be associated mostly with attractive Internet celebrities. This may be due to its wide use by message boards and social networking sites. In the early 2000s, bulletin board-style sites where beauty was ranked began to crop up, thus spreading the “best face” concept even further.
- In 2003, talent agencies caught the fever and began offering careers in show business to well-known ulzzangs.
- In 2004, the term was listed among the year’s most popular online search keywords by leading Korean daily, Dong-a Ilbo.
- In October of 2008, an online search for the term on Google yielded over 8 million page results.
- Several other “zzang” labels were spawned in the following years and more “ordinary folk” became famous (and infamous) for their good looks.
Tools for Achieving “Best Face”
There are several things that can help you achieve the “best face” appeal, even if you normally consider yourself plain-looking. These things include the following:
- Circle lenses
- False eyelashes
- Hair products (gel, hair spray, etc.)
- Hats/bonnets/hair accessories
- Rings and bracelets
- A pair of headsets
- Mask (think Kakashi Hatake of the Naruto series)
Of course, aside from these items, you also have to take your outfit into consideration. It’s a good thing finding examples of Korean fashion on the Internet isn’t all that difficult. Finally, you’d want to plan the shots you want to take of yourself in order to really get the “best face” look down pat. You may want to hug your favorite pet or stuffed animal to add to the cuteness factor.
With just a little effort and a good sense of style, anyone can be ulzzang. Yes, that’s means YOU, too!